The European Commission Awarded Athens the title of “European Capital of Innovation 2018”. Innovation is viewed as a tool to enhance and improve the resilience and sustainability of the Cities.
Almost a decade after the start of the financial crisis, Athens is going through a revival and has encouraged new ways to engage with the city and its community. In this process, the Municipality has the important role of supporting creative initiatives “inviting Athenian residents and professionals to co-create the city’s identity”.
During the Autumn Semester 2019, we explored opportunities within the historic district of the city to renovate or insert projects that complement the efforts for its regeneration.
“Polis” in the historic and cultural context of Athens has acquired a wider spectrum of meanings: city state, urban centre, body of citizens, community and the power of public space.
Political, cultural and economic patterns of the city influence its development and we asked ourselves: what would the architecture of today´s Polis look like? Old and new interact within a dynamic urbanity that requires to rethink itself to promote socio-economic sustainability. We had experienced and explored the cultural dimension of the street life to inform the more pragmatic and quantitative readings and information that defined the city´s new performance.
Through group work, we explored the urban scale of the Athenian polis. The city was understood as layers of information, mapping conditions and qualities that created unique design narratives. Each student individually oriented their findings to discover opportunities for their intervention. By analysing both tangible and intangible conditions, students developped their own brief to target specific design challenges.
Design proposals were multi-scalar in scope, enabling architectural propositions to respond to a larger narrative relating to the aesthetic, programmatic and socio-economic capacities of the city and its infrastructure. Students were invited to explore their own aesthetic style throughout an ongoing dialogue between two- and three-dimensional explorations that revealed unpredictable qualities to inspire their design narratives.
Sau Yee Natalie Lam
Marie-Isabel de Monseignat-Lavrov